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Falling eucalyptus trees posing danger to UCSD students and their families

Many cars have been severely damaged, and students fear someone could be hurt or killed if they’re caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

SAN DIEGO — Falling limbs from eucalyptus trees continue to be a problem at the Central Mesa graduate student housing complex for UC San Diego.  

Many cars have been severely damaged, and students fear someone could be hurt or killed if they’re caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

“It makes me feel angry and anxious at times, very nervous,” said student Alexander Arias. 

Eucalyptus trees and limbs fall around this complex periodically, and it happened again last month. 

“Over here we have a tree,” said Arias, while pointing toward a tree across the parking lot. “Some of the limbs fell on top of the laundry room.” 

The tree limbs fell near the mailboxes and laundry room, and it has many people concerned because children often play in and around the area.   

“Me and my wife, we like to walk around with our stroller,” said Arias. “And it definitely is concerning because some of those limbs could fall on actual people and kill them.” 

Arias remembers when a eucalyptus tree fell over last September. 

“If I had left 5 minutes earlier, I would’ve been right here at the exact moment the tree fell,” said Arias. “When I looked, I saw the tree fall basically and I saw it hit all the cars.” 

One of those cars, a black Jeep Renegade, belonged to Sergio Sandoval, a PhD student for aerospace engineering. 

“The housing, they didn’t do anything,” said Sandoval. “They didn’t do anything for us.” 

Fortunately, Sandoval had full auto insurance coverage, but other students didn’t. Five vehicles were damaged, and a light pole was knocked over.   

Nowadays, Sergio would rather park elsewhere and walk the rest of the way, especially when walking with his son. 

“I’m always watching above just to make sure that we get home safe and we’re almost running to our house,” said Sandoval. 

In February, another barrage of eucalyptus branches came tumbling down. 

“You saw how powerful it is,” said resident Reza Suffiei. “These are very big trees and when one of them falls down, it causes a lot of damage.” 

CBS 8 reached out to UCSD to see what they’re doing in the way of proactive maintenance, and we received this statement:  

“The safety of students, faculty and staff is the university’s highest concern, which is why it maintains an ongoing program where licensed arborists evaluate trees on campus and licensed tree service contractors regularly trim and remove trees.” 

Meanwhile, students say they’ve heard this before, and they don’t feel like anything substantial is being done. 

“It’s very concerning and it doesn’t feel like the university is taking the matter seriously,” said Arias. 

“We need somebody that is in charge that takes leadership and actually makes a change on this,” said Sandoval. 

CBS 8 is staying on top of this issue.  If you have any stories, you’d like us to look into, email us at workingforyou@cbs8.com. 

WATCH RELATED: 23 eucalyptus trees taken down by City of La Mesa (January 2022)

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